Q&A with Joanne Phillips discussion

Self publishing - do readers care?

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message 1: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 24 comments Mod
As many of you are aware, Can't Live Without is self published under my own imprint, Mirrorball Books. The production values on this book are high - it is (hopefully) indistinguishable from a mainstream-published novel. What I wonder is: do readers care if a book is self published? Would it put you off reading a novel by a new author? All viewpoints welcomed!

message 2: by Emma (new)

Emma (eharrison) | 7 comments It doesn't matter one bit really, unless there are obvious errors etc. which there isn't in CLW because I'm sure you made sure of it :)
In print, it would only be off-putting if the cover was amateurish and messy, but I'd still read it if I was bought it. Don't judge a book by its' cover, and all that...

message 3: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 24 comments Mod
That's good to know! When I was doing my research I bought some books with terrible covers - I'm ashamed to say it really did put me off, and I haven't read them. I guess I do judge a book by its cover!

message 4: by K J (last edited Jun 19, 2012 02:59AM) (new)

K J Bennett (kjbennett) | 3 comments Some readers are put-off by self-published work, which seems to have a bad reputation from years of vanity publishing and, it has to be said, some atrocious examples of spelling and grammar.

One of my wife's workmates self-published a fantasy title (and paid to have it done) and it is unreadable. Not only is the typesetting badly formatted, but clearly the author has no basic grasp of punctuation. I played a game of 'spot the speach', as she didn't know how to use quotation marks!

I am self published on Kindle, and the print version of my book comes out in the next few weeks. So far I have found that Goodreads members tend to be more broad-minded than average readers and are more open to self-published titles.

A lot of prejudice against SP books is voiced here - http://gavreads.co.uk/2012/05/thought... - and a lot of comments have been added in favour of and against the initial post (I feature several times).

I think that as long as the product is demonstrably of high quality, readers will be found ... others will steer clear simply because it isn't 'traditionally' published. I often wonder if the same people harbour the same prejudice against independent tradesmen who are not affiliated to large corporate bodies.

message 5: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 24 comments Mod
Hi KJ,
Thanks for joining in. I think you're right that there are self-published books which are just as good (typesetting, proofing etc) as traditionally published titles, and many (many!) which aren't. And I think a reader's time is so precious I can understand if they've had a bad experience with a self-pub title they might be reluctant to try another. I've read loads of awful Kindle books - both self-published and not - with errors and poor editing. But I plough on because you never know, you just might find a gem ...
Good luck with your book. Do you want to post up a link? Who are you printing with? I'm just setting up my title with Lightning Source UK.

message 6: by K J (new)

K J Bennett (kjbennett) | 3 comments Hi Joanne,

Right: the Kindle version is here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pikes-Quest-e... and also on the .com and European sites.

The paper version I'm doing through CreateSpace, which only recently started UK and European distribution. It can cost a lot of money or very little, depending on whether you buy the professional packages or adopt the do-it-yourself method.

To assist in the DIY version, CreateSpace provide templates and much support, but it is time consuming. I happen to be off work for a few weeks following a leg operation, so have managed to find the time. My outlay so far is around £15 for two proof copies (number 2 should be here by Friday). That is, $2.91 each for book, plus postage from the US (the proofs are not printed in Europe).

It's completely POD, so there is no outlay for an initial print run. Once I've approved the proofs, the prints are done wherever the order is placed, so postage isn't an issue. When I ordered the proofs, they were dispatched within two hours of the order, meaning they printed, bound and posted the book immediately. Impressive.

All the best with your print version!


message 7: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Wester I just wanted to mirror what has been said... I am currently proofing my copy with createspace. It is hard work but it is reasonable and well worth it... Especially when I give friends free copies... :) xx

message 8: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 24 comments Mod
Hi again Vanessa,
What was it like when your proof copy turned up? I'm just so fussy about every tiny detail and I'm really anxious about looking at my book in print for the first time!
x Jo

message 9: by K J (new)

K J Bennett (kjbennett) | 3 comments Hello again from me.

My first proof was slight disappointment due to my dodgy cover art. It overshadowed other issues that I have now discovered in my second proof. The print quality is high and it is exciting to see it. However, I have only just discovered that the version of my story that I formatted for the print copy was slightly older than the version I used for Kindle, so it contained some errors that shouldn't have been there. It's far easier for me to re-read the book and correct it than to format the correct version, so that's what I'm doing.

The good news is that once I've submitted my corrected version, it'll be good to go and I will not require a third proof.

message 10: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 24 comments Mod
I did that too! I'd also made changes after formatting for Kindle, and when I started typesetting the book for print I got halfway through and realised I was using the wrong version. Grrr. I hope your third version will be just what you want it to be.

My first proof came though on Tuesday, BTW, and I'm really chuffed with it. Ebooks are fantastic but there is nothing like holding an actual real physical book in your hand that you have worked so hard to produce.

message 11: by Frankie (new)

Frankie Valente | 6 comments It is a great feeling isn't it! I donated two to my local library and I'm amazed that there is such a long waiting list for them that the library ordered more from Amazon.

Now I'm thinking of creating an audiobook. There is quite a demand for audiobooks, but not so many titles available. Worth a thought Joanne!

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